Shaheen Welcomes Long-overdue Steps by the FDA to Strengthen Regulations of Opioid Drugs

February 04, 2016

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today welcomed the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of their new comprehensive action plan for opioid drugs to reduce the impact of addiction on American families and communities.

“For far too long, the FDA has had a laissez-faire attitude towards highly addictive opioid medications,” said Shaheen. “Today’s announcement is long-overdue and I hope represents a broader course correction for the agency. Opioid painkillers are still being prescribed at an alarming rate and are fueling a public health emergency that’s taking a life a day in New Hampshire. Curbing the over prescription of these drugs is fundamental to turning the tide of this national pandemic.”   

The new FDA opioid action plan calls for new warning labels on immediate release opioids, an advisory committee to approve new opioid drugs, and improved information for doctors about the risks of opioids. The plan also expands the access to naloxone and spurs development of affordable, generic abuse-deterrent drugs. More details on the new FDA action plan are available here. 

Shaheen has been leading the fight in Congress for a national response to the opioid crisis. She has proposed a $600 million emergency funding bill, and last month called for the President to include increased funding in his budget to combat the opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, the President announced an increase in funding for this purpose.